Name and credentials:
Katherine Moynihan, Ph.D, CLP
Senior Manager of Innovation and Commercialization
Preferred contact information:
1) What does a typical day look like in your job?
It is a mixture of meetings with researchers to discuss their discoveries and what steps we need to take in the beginning for potential commercialization, conferring with patent counsel about cases in various stages of prosecution to determine strategy and priority in obtaining intellectual property protection, reaching out to company contacts to market our university technologies to see if there is a match with company interest and pipeline, and negotiating the contracts associated with working with company and university partners. I thoroughly enjoy the differences in day to day project management with my portfolio of cases – sometimes there are urgent contract issues to sort out or a patent deadline to meet but other times I can spend a good amount of time with a new inventor to explain our office and how the process works.
2) What is your favorite aspect of your job?
I love seeing so many exciting projects and assisting the researchers in protecting their discoveries and finding companies partners to develop the technology into a product. It’s great to be able to have a hand in guiding so many promising advances that could help people down the road. I get to learn something new with each invention disclosure and company interaction and it’s inspiring to see the breadth of new ideas being tested and developed.
3) What is the most challenging aspect?
Education – I work with university researchers, intellectual property and contract attorneys, and business folks at companies and each segment needs some help understanding where the other party is coming from. Often, they speak in what can seem like different languages! It’s also hard to see good ideas stymied by blocking prior art in the patent landscape or when a mismatch in reimbursement or commercial incentive leads to good science languishing rather than getting developed.
4) What led you to this career choice?
Science has long been of interest to me and I had a good experience in graduate school at the bench. I enjoy working at a university and seeing the cutting-edge research happening in the labs here but I wanted to be further down the path of helping those discoveries turn into real world solutions. I like the juxtaposition of science, business, and law all together here in technology transfer and I cultivate my role as a connector to bring people together that can make progress happen.
5) What do you know now that you wish you knew as an early-stage investigator?
I knew in graduate school and during my post doc that I wasn’t interested in running a lab, so I wish there had been more opportunities on campus to talk to PhDs that were in different careers. I ended up doing a lot of researching and informational interviews to see what else was out there and I think “alternative careers” are more common than many graduate programs highlighted at that point.